A PETITION calling for more CCTV in Rayleigh High Street has been signed by hundreds of people.

Residents are demanding CCTV is installed in and around the high street and the town centre.

The petition – which had 1,500 signatures as the Echo went to print last night – was launched after several incidents in Rayleigh made residents feel unsafe.

Angela Chapman, who launched the petition, said: “In the spirit of community, if you value your safety of your friends and family, please sign our petition to have CCTV reinstated in the heart our town.

“Whilst we appreciate that council money needs to be spent wisely, this cost-cutting exercise is detrimental to us all.”

James Charles, 37, who lives near to the Rayleigh Lodge pub, said: “The council scrapped the old CCTV system and it’s all old and out of use.

“They said that we live in one of the lowest crime areas in south Essex, but that’s irrelevant.

“The council aren’t taking our problems seriously enough and a lot of residents are fed up with the council as it is.”

Mr Charles added a gang in Rayleigh have been terrorising neighbours which he says reinforces the fact that CCTV is needed urgently.

He said: “It’s only a matter of time before the gang do something more serious.

“I won’t let my wife walk to the off-license at night by herself as there’s dodgy people always hanging around.”

Lodge ward councillor Ian Ward added: “We are being proactive but there are lots of restrictions about where you can put the cameras.

“Where we would want the CCTV, it wouldn’t be sanctioned. We’re restricted in where we can put it at the moment with all the red tape.”

The Tory councillor demanded the police are more supportive of their efforts and added: “We need cooperation from the police, neighbourhood policing needs to return.

“It’s a wider issue than just installing CCTV.

“There’s a new community panel which is investigating the issues again.”